Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Mother's Legacy

Today is my Mama's birthday and I want to say, "Happy Birthday, Mom!"

My mom has had a profound influence on my life and she is the first woman I think of when someone asks me who has had the greatest influence on me as a woman. This is a small tribute to her and all that she has meant to me my whole life...

She is a survivor.
She is a woman who loves her amazing God.
She is determined to live her life in such a way that it positively impacts those around her.
She is devoted to her family and sees the value of investing in her children's lives.
She has faith in what she cannot always see, because she trusts in God.
She is adventurous.
She is one who works diligently at all she puts her hands to.
She challenges herself and is always looking for opportunity to grow and learn.
She loves deeply and whole-heartedly.

She is a one who has left a beautiful legacy to her children of a woman who fears the Lord and works hard each day to make a difference in the place God has placed her. I am most grateful that she has taught me how to love, how to trust God and how to live life to the fullest.

Thank you mama~ Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I love this time of year and I love the simplicity of God sending the Savior of the world as a newborn babe. I cannot imagine what Mary felt as she looked into the eyes of Jesus; our Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, our everlasting hope. This past Sunday morning, our pastor spoke about the spirit of Christmas, using the precious story of Simeon and Anna. (Which happens to be one of my favorites!)

He challenged us to find some time this Christmas to show God that we do put our hope in Him alone. There is much around us that is going awry and circumstances we face that seem to be impossible...for me. But certainly not for God. The "spirit of Christmas" is not the hustle and bustle, the music and favorite cookies made by your grandma or aunt. It is our choices and our actions lived out during the season that say we are truly putting all our hope in Christ!

Come thou long expected Jesus! What a beautiful thought for all mankind. What a precious gift that He did come to seek and save the lost~ Have a blessed Christmas, celebrating our precious Savior.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

His plan, not mine

Hello! I have been out this week with two sweet boys and two cases of the stomach bug :(

Anyway, I am a bit drained and do not have much to share. Except, that I pray that we will all take sin seriously. That we will put into practie the vital role we have in confessing and repenting. This means that we say outloud what God says about our sin and then we turn from it, completely.

I think that we have this tendancy to "categorize" our sins...big, bad, not such a big deal, little. Well, all sin (yes, ALL sin) is the same in God's eyes. Why? Because sin separates us from our Heavenly Father. It gets in the way and slowy errodes the soul, the heart, the mind.

This world is full of distractions, so here is my challenge to us all. Take the time to be still and cut out the distractions. Search your heart and do only that which you know God asks of you. Leave the other stuff behind and do what He asks.

Also, be aware! The enemy is like a lion ready to snatch us up in his fearsome paw. (1 Peter 5:8) Stand your guard and do not let him have a foothold. God gives us this encouragement in His word:

1Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

Christmas seems to be a time when indulgence goes overboard. Everyone seems to be able to justify the spending of money more at this time of the year. Christmas is about the birth of Christ, so we should be taking time to see what would be valuable to Him. What does He say to do with our money and time during the holiday season?

I love that God's word tells me, if I have food and shelter, with these things I shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:8) Great, I have both those things, so I shall be content. Any discontented attitude comes from my rotten heart. Which leads me back to the cross and God's amazing sacrifice for my sin. A plan in the heart of God before the foundation of the earth.

The most striking part of this plan? That Jesus came as a newborn babe, on a cold night in a manger to a teenage mother, who was a virgin. How beautiful, the day that God touched the world with the greatness of His love, through the birth of His Son.

Thank you Father God for that precious babe, my Savior. A priceless gift of love, made on my behalf. This certainly does seem like something we should "go tell on the mountain!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

December 8, 2008

Outside my window...a perfect day, just enough cool and lots of sun!

I am thinking... how peaceful my home feels today

I am thankful for...the fact that my mom is coming in 10 days :) :) :)

From the learning rooms...the library and lots of reading

From the kitchen... the wonderful smells of a roast cooking. rice pudding, bread & cookies

I am memorizing... 1 John 2:1-10 this week

I am creating...a "Look Back at 2008" scrapbook

I am do some Christmas shopping, prepare for a piano recital, just simply enjoy my home & boys this week

I am reading... "The Mission of Motherhood", 1 John

I am hoping... for some snow this winter season

I am hearing...the sounds of my boys fighting the pirates

Around the house...very clean and warm from the fire, scrapbook stuff still out from this weekend

One of my favorite things... my living room lit only by the Christmas tree in the early morning or late night

A few plans for the rest of the week: Cookie Swap for Hope House, rehearsal for the recital, shopping

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Moments of Joy

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Last night my husband and I sat down to evaluate the state of our life: marriage, family, child training, etc... We do this in anticipation of the new year coming and see what has happened over the past year. We decided this year we would start by deciding what we value. Then we will define the value, find a verse to see what God says and set our goals accordingly. This process came from a lady at our church who taught a wonderful class on decision making about a month ago.

Here is an example of what we are doing:

Value: children
Definition: descendant; offspring; gift of the Lord
Verses: Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy then to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Goals: treat our children as precious gifts, handling them with much care and wisdom
training them in the righteousness of the Lord
sharing the gospel consistently with them
seeking the Lord's wisdom for the bend of each child, since they are a gift from Him

Now, that I have started with this I realize this can be another post all it's own. :) More on this as we develop this process~

For the heart of this post, I want to share this thought...

As we sat there talking and looking up scripture, I was struck by the fact that at that very moment, God was having to witness someone, somewhere cheating on a spouse, aborting a baby, stealing, practicing immorality, the list of actions with evil intent goes on and on.

But, here we were~imperfect and inadequate~taking time out to see what God says about what our lives should look like. And I thought, WOW! How precious is it to God to look into our lives and see us being faithful. How much joy does this moment bring Him? I thought to myself, He must be able to just take a deep breath and say, "Thank you my child for doing what matters most." Doing what matters most to God brings great joy to His heart.

I am not special or great because I took that moment out to go to God's word. This is what I should be doing with my time. How many times during the day, amidst all the junk He is having to witness, am I bringing Him joy? In those moments is He pleased with what He sees me doing?

OH! I pray that I will find myself working hard to make the heart of my Heavenly Father happy. I want to be one of His children that causes Him to smile, because I am doing what matters most to Him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inside their world

As I look at the picture of my oldest son on the right sidebar, I think of all the things that run through his mind in one day. He is full of imagination, ideas and plans. He listens to us talk and then tries so hard to "be big" when he talks in everyday conversation.

Today, he had this conversation with a friend and her 7 year old daughter:
E: "Miss Kittie, we have been recycling."
K: "Wow! We do that too at our house."

E: "Daddy finally brought home a bin for us, because I have been wanting to recycle for...years." (He says with a slight roll of his eyes)

K: "Yes, since you were three?"

E: "Since I was four..."

Kittie's daughter then says so straight-faced..."You are four."

Eli just looks at her and nods his head.

Tonight, looking back on that converstaion, I started thinking on how much time I actually spend in their world. I really want my children to know that what they are thinking and the ideas they would like to see happening are valuable. I find that since mine are so strong that I am often trying to find a balance between being their guardrail and really engaging in conversation with them.

I have just started reading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. Yesterday I was encouraged in my role as a wife and mother, because I was reading about how my role is God-ordained. My children are to know what it means to be emotionally stable, encouraged, physically sustained and spiritually healthy because of my example.

We have to know the heart of our children in order to build a sustaining relationship with each of them. If I do not take time to invest individually, by getting down at their level and inside their world, I will be lost in navigating my way around their hearts. When children feel safe and secure they are open and can reveal quite a bit about themselves through play, words and actions.
This makes me think of Charlotte's Web where the mother asks the doctor if she thinks it's acutally possible for animals to speak. The doctor replies by saying, well it is possible that an animal spoke to me today, but I was too busy to hear or notice.

So, how are we doing at really listening to our children? I have a friend who, because of her son's challenges in speaking, treasures each word he says. In my home, both of my children talk all day and I have to be honest that I don't know that I "treasure" each and every one of those precious words. But, I certainly should be treasuring them! The hold much insight to my children. Even when they are silly, they want me to think they are silly. When they feel upset or misunderstood, they want to know that I understand those feelings.

My children's words are a small window into who they are, how they are wired and how they view the world. The myriad of questions that come from them each day are their way of learning about the world. My job is to instill in them a godly worldview. I do this by being in God's word and then passing on that truth to my children. This is my purpose as a mother. Deuteronomy says I should teach the truth of the word of God diligently to my sons and shall talk of them. When? When I sit in my house, and when I walk by the way, and when I rise up and when I lie down.

Talk. Talk. Talk. Yes, I need to be talking, BUT I also need to be engaging my chilren in conversation with me. I need to remember to let them have a voice and to most importantly listen. If I want to know them better, I can learn quite a bit just by being still and quiet. Funny...isn't that how I also learn more about my amazing God? Yes, I do recall that He asks me to "be still and know." I shall set it as my goal this week to do just that with my sweet boys. Hopefully in the next week I will know something new about them!

I challenge you to find ways and make time to do the same with your children. Let us know what you discover by being still and quiet with your children. Reverse the roles some and see what you might learn from being inside their world! Have fun~

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... December 1, 2008

Outside my window... Cold and a snow sky, except I am doubtful, since this is the South

I am thinking... how awesome God is to lead me to the perfect "happy" for a dear friend, I am so happy she received something that was "just what she wanted" God is so cool! :)

I am thankful for... a devoted husband who has stayed home to care for our boys today, shopping and running errands for me

From the learning rooms... math, reading, scripture memory (shapes & letters for little one)

From the kitchen... hopefully bread, soup and scalloped ham & potatoes (my favorite)

I am wearing... leggings and Wesley's grey sweatshirt jacket

I am working on... Sunday school curriculum

I am going... nowhere until I feel better

I am reading... The Mission of Motherhood (Sally Clarkson)

I am hoping... to feel better soon, sickness is not my favorite state of being :(

I am hearing... "Sense & Sensibility" (illness has allowed me the rare treat of watching a movie mid-day)

Around the house... suitcases to be unpacked, laundry, floors to be swept, a beautiful fire warming me so wonderfully

One of my favorite things... the lanuage of Jane Austen's day

A few plans for the rest of the week... resting, reading, practicing music for upcoming piano recital, buying a Christmas tree (sad because I am used to chopping my own down...but still very fun this time of year)

Here is picture thought I am sharing... ice skating with the boys over the holiday, oh we had so much fun

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